In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Milton Abbas like this:
MILTON-ABBAS, a village, a parish, and a sub-district, in Blandford district, Dorset. The village stands along a steep road, between two wooded hills, adjacent to an affluent of the river Puddle, 6 miles SW by W of Blandford r. station; was originally called Middleton; took the latter part of its name from a neighbouring Benedictine abbey; was once a market-town; underwent reconstruction by the first Earl of Dorchester; consists of two rows of symmetrical cottages, with church, almshouse, and good inn; presents a tidy and pretty appearance; and has a post office‡ under Blandford, and a fair on the Tuesday after 25 July. ...
The parish contains also the hamlet of Holworth. Acres, 2,420. Real property, £4,746. Pop. in 1851,915; in 1861,1,014. Houses, 154. The property belongs to Baron Hambro. A Benedictine abbey was founded here after 938, by King Athelstan; went, at the dissolution, to Sir John Tregonwell; and, with the exception of the hall and the church, was taken down in 1771, to give place to Milton Abbey, the present seat of Baron Hambro. This seat was designed by Sir William Chambers; is a large quadrangular mansion, with a central court; consists of white limestone, alternating in parts with layers of flint; presents principal fronts to the N and the W; includes the monks' hall or refectory, of date 1498; and stands on a natural terrace, at the convergence of three deep vales, under an amphitheatre of wooded heights. The abbey church is of the time of Edward II.; succeeded a previous church, destroyed by lightning; consists of transept, aisledchancel, and tower; contains a rich altar-screen of 1492, finely carved stalls, three canopied sedilia, two rude old paintings supposed to represent Athelstan and his queen, an old marble monument to Sir John Tregonwell, a monument of 1775 by Carlini to Lord and Lady Milton, and a Jesse window of 1849 by Pugin; and underwent restoration in 1863, under the superintendence of Scott of London, at a cost of about £4,500. An old chapel, dedicated to St. Catherine, stands on a hill E of the abbey. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Salisbury. Valne, £127.* Patron, Baron Hambro. The village church was rebuilt by the first Earl of Dorchester, and has a pinnacled tower. There are a Wesleyan chapel, an almshouse with £19 a year, and an endowed school with £181.The sub-district contains also fourteen other parishes and part of another. Acres, 26,201. Pop., 6,283. Houses, 1,181.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Milton Abbas has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of North Dorset. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Milton Abbas and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Milton Abbas in North Dorset | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 30th August 2014
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